Racing Post International Editor, Nick Godfrey, has taken top prize of £7,500 in the Dubai International Arabian Races Journalists Competition
22 December 2014, UK ~ Staged under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, the competition recognizes and rewards journalistic and photographic excellence and forms part of the promotion of Arabian racing’s ‘Champions Day’ which this year was held at Newbury Racecourse, UK in August.
Introduced in 2009 the competition boasts total prize money of more than £20,000 to be shared among the winners and runners-up in three categories; UK Print Media, Open Category and Best Photograph and includes a donation of £2,000 to the charity of choice of the winner of the UK Print Media Category.
Godfrey’s article, published in British horseracing’s national daily newspaper, impressed the judges with its comprehensive coverage of many aspects of day and clear interpretation of the subject.
Entries were considered by a panel of judges which was chaired by Abdulla Al Ansari and included Shadwell Director Richard Lancaster, Newbury Racecourse’s Head of Communications Andy Clifton, leading UAE journalist and publisher Mohammed Taha, Arabian Racing Organisation Director Genny Haynes, and Sportsguide’s Managing Director Philip Brannan.
Commenting on the winning submission Abdulla Al Ansari said, ‘The article was clearly very well researched and challenged some of the perceptions of Arabian racing. There was great attention paid to the racing and to the personalities involved in the sport and also strong references to the promotional aspects of the day.’
Godfrey, who nominated Racing Welfare as the charity to receive a donation of £2,000 in his name, said, ‘I am delighted to win this award and I am grateful to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan and the Dubai International Arabian Races Committee. I had seen Arabian racing many times at the Dubai World Cup, but this was my first visit to a dedicated Arabian meeting.
“I was struck by the number of families who were there and I am sure thoroughbred racing would benefit from the same demographic.”
Three runners-up in the UK Print Media Category were also named at an awards luncheon held in London today and hosted by His Excellency Mirza Al Sayegh, Director of the Office of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan in the presence of His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Mutaiwee, UAE Ambassador to the United Kingdom, and First Secretary His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum.
Daily Star and Sunday Express correspondent, Patrick Weaver took fourth place and was presented with an iPad, Newbury Weekly News Sports Editor Malcolm Howe received a cheque for £2,000 and runner-up and winner of the award in 2010, Deborah Burt collected £4,000 for her article in EQ Life Magazine.
Geoffrey Riddle’s contribution to the promotion of the event through his articles in The National and on the Racing UK website were rewarded with first prize in the Open Category for the second year running earning him £3,000. Abdulla Al Ansari said, ‘Geoffrey’s articles consistently raise the standard of reporting on Arabian racing and I am sure they are instrumental in introducing new people to the sport.’
The judges were unable to separate the contributions of the Press Association’s Tom Peacock and Paul Haigh writing for The Thoroughbred Commentary who share the runners-up prize which a special presentation was made to Vikki Hancock for her article in on-line publication, European Bloodstock News.
The £2,000 prize for the best published photograph was awarded to Horserace Writers and Photographers Association President and one-time Arabian owner, Steven Cargill whose winner’s enclosure picture was considered by the judges to best reflect the atmosphere of the Dubai International Arabian Races. Royal Warrant holder Matthew Webb took the runners-up prize of an iPad.
H.E. Mirza Al Sayegh said, ‘Today’s journalists awards lunch is the biggest we have hosted since the competition was introduced in 2009 which is a reflection on the growing interest in Arabian racing in the UK. On behalf of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan I would like to congratulate all the winners and thank everyone who has contributed to the promotion of this year’s event.’
Picture caption: First Secretary His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and Director of the Office of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan His Excellency Mirza Al Sayegh pictured with the winners of today’s awards luncheon.